- Barbarian (2002 on PlayStation 2, 2003 on Xbox, GameCube)
Description official descriptions
In this game you play the role of a barbarian who must navigate his way through dangerous dungeons. The game is played from a third person side scrolling perspective and also has platform jumping parts to it. The barbarian is controlled by using left and right on the joystick to move and up and down is used to scroll through the various commands at the bottom of the screen. When a command is highlighted pressing fire will perform that action thus saving on extra buttons being needed to play. There are two weapons at your disposal. A sword which you start the game with and later a bow which is handy for long range attacks. There are many traps to avoid and various monsters who have different attack patterns.
Credits (Amiga version)
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Average score: 74% (based on 16 ratings)
Average score: 2.8 out of 5 (based on 75 ratings with 6 reviews)
The digitized speech at the title screen is... cute. The sprite graphics are done well, if a bit cartoony.
Gameplay is done with "icons", which can be selected with the joystick, mouse, or function keys. For example: To move your character to the right, you press/select the right arrow icon. To swing your sword, you select the sword icon. This would be appropriate if the game were a turn-based strategy game or something--but it's not! It's a weak action game. You'd think that you could simply move left, right, etc. and hit a button to swing your sword, but you can't. You have to use the "icons" for everything.
It's the stupidest control system I've ever seen for an action game.
The Bottom Line
It's a sheep in wolf's clothing. Avoid it.
DOS · by Trixter (8946) · 1999
To begin with, this is a little bit biased on my part, because this game, like other games like Airborne ranger, Eye of Horus, Aaargh, and the others, is one of the first I ever played, and naturally this would give a slight favor towards it from any person. I actually thought this game was pretty good when I was kid, hearing the really badly digitalized voice say 'barbarian' at the start was, from what I believe the very first voice I heard from a video game.
The game featured you as Hegor, the inevitable Conan the Barbarian clone, going on an adventure to kill the wizard Necron (who's easier to knock down than glass bottle with a machinegun) for some mysterious reason... seriously, what DO barbarians have against wizards? Maybe I should be hitting the old Conan the Barbarian novels to figure that one out.
The graphics were OK, and there's actually quite a variety of enemies for you to go at even if they're not exactly the hardest enemies in the history of video gaming. There are some death traps in the game that would require you to constantly be on guard making sure that you won't be finishing the game in the first run through. Some the animation is mildly amusing, too, such as the one to make your character run away, it never fails to put a smile on my face to see a supposedly 'tough' barbarian run away in a comically cartoonish manner.
Even the unusual control feature of the game, wild bewildering at first, isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. It's only if you've never seen it before or you haven't played the game in a long time does it get confusing. It's actually very easy to learn and does add a unique touch to the game.
OK, with the minor good stuff that has been said about the game, here comes the negative... first of all, there's really no story given at all. In the manual of the game (the only place where you learn the barbarian and the wizard's names) they mention that you have to destroy the crystal that he drops... but make no mention as to why you're fighting him to begin with. Seriously, the story seemed more like a justification for existence than an actual story. They could have at least put something in like revenge or freeing the country from his tyranny or something like that in there to explain exactly what was going on.
Also the game itself is not too terribly hard to finish. Except for some parts about the old 'dropping stone' traps from the ceilings (which can be avoided easily once you know where they are), and the enemies are just too pathetic to really be of any threat. I was only killed once by them, and that was an accident on my part, too. Adding some kind of combat system in the game would have made for a great addition and made the game a lot more enjoyable than just 'don't let the enemy come too close and then thwack them with your sword!'. In fact, they were so easy to beat that they were more of an annoyance than a challenge.
To make matters worse, the final wizard in the end game was no stronger than a regular wizard enemy that you meet in the screen before him. Only difference is, he can't be killed with arrows, you have to be very clever with him... using the magic 'shield' to reflect his own magic upon him. It's a task so hard you might actually want to put your coffee cup down to make sure you concentrate enough and not on whatever music video you might have on the side from youtube.
The sound in the game is another problem. Other than Hegor's death cries, the sound in the game sounded suspiciously like that PC speaker tunes of Airborne ranger and a myriad of other games that were out at the time. They were really annoying and didn't add much atmosphere.
The Bottom Line
Well, are you very first conscious memories from the late 80's? Then you might have played this game and as such, you might have experienced some of it and just the nostalgia factor might want you to come back and play it every now and then for old times sake.
For all other people, however, this game doesn't hold much appeal. If you're a collector of old games, as I am, you might want to download it, test play it for a few minutes, then just quietly forget about it. It's a nice classic that few people know about, but maybe that's what makes it have that teeny tiny bit of charm.
DOS · by Salim Farhat (69) · 2009
Duh. You press keys, a bloke on the screen walks and suddenly - without no warning at all! - a rock falls on his head and he dies. Aliens, schmaliens - THIS is the ultimate in nerve-tingling suspense! All those pussies talking about these new 3-d games like The Thing and so on just have no idea what REAL suspense means - I can't believe somebody'd call a game suspensful when he knows EXACTLY what will happen when he presses this or that button. That's the whole IDEA of suspense - that you DON'T know what will happen next, that when a monster jumps out of nowhere you can't just press a mouse button and kill him! It's not like that in real life! And look - with all the technological advancements those games just can't reach that level on which this game is operating. All this game needs is a barbarian and a monster at the other end of the screen who doesn't even MOVE. You press F4 and the barbarian walks towards the monster, who then begins slowly - SLOWLY, like the advance of creeping death - to walk towards the barbarian. The barbarian has a sword with which he could with ease kill the monster - but does he? No, that'd be just primitive. That'd be something straight out of the Thing or that Aliens movie. No, no, no - in THIS game, the barbarian with his sword walks on and you press some key and instead of hitting the monster with his sword the barbarian suddenly stops and jumps in the air and the monster kills him dead! Pure genius.
I thought it was a shame that when you die in one screen the game doesn't start anew but lets you resurrect somehow in that same screen. That's just not very realistic.
The Bottom Line
It was one of the first games I played. It taught me the use of function keys. It taught me that incredible frustration and ceaseless irritation is an irremovable part of computer gaming. I never got past the first four screens, but I still remember it with great kindness. I can't say that about any other game I've played.
DOS · by Alex Man (31) · 2002
The box cover artwork and Barbarian/Psygnosis logos were created by Roger Dean. The painting used for the cover, called Red Dragon III, was later used again as a cover for Steve Howe on the 1994 album Not Necessarily Acoustic. At the back of the CD booklet under the artwork credits you can find the message "Hello Psygnosis".
In the PC version, the developers apparently forgot to remove a debugger of sorts from the game. When you are asked to select the control method ("Press 1, 2 or 3"), press 4. Then start the game as usual, and...
Barbarian features speech through the PC Speaker, but was done using the technically inferior 1-bit method as opposed to the more sophisticated 6- and 8-bit methods employed by other games. As a result, the speech is quite loud and distorted.
- MobyGames ID: 253
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Donny K..
iPhone, iPad added by Sciere. ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. MSX added by koffiepad. Amiga added by MAT. Atari ST added by Belboz. Amstrad CPC added by Belgarath_UK. Commodore 64 added by Rantanplan.
Game added August 27th, 1999. Last modified September 30th, 2023.